Issue 40 Unmanned Systems Technology October/November 2021 ANYbotics ANYmal D l AI systems focus l Aquatic Drones Phoenix 5 l Space vehicles insight l Sky Eye Rapier X-25 l FlyingBasket FB3 l GCS focus l AUVSI Xponential 2021

22 T he case for r&d into bio- inspired vehicle engineering is clear and easy to understand: nature has had a 4.6 billion year head start on designing and producing biological systems that have enormous advantages in their respective environments over human-made systems. As a result, academia is rife with projects aimed at developing robots with, say, the aerodynamics of a swallow, the energy efficiency of a jellyfish, and the tactile capabilities of a crab. But commercial demand for such systems depends on businesses discovering useful applications for them. Indoor surveys and inspections are one such application. For example, installing fixed cameras throughout an oil rig or factory complex, for measuring temperatures or other process indicators, is impractical. Each camera offers a very limited angle and field of view per unit – especially compared with a camera mounted on a moving system – and must be replaced every 5-7 years. The cost and complexity of installing and replacing enough sensors for comprehensive visual awareness amid a veritable jungle of pipes, vents, machines and tanks makes this approach prohibitively expensive. Having a human engineer walk around with handheld equipment makes more sense, but in environments prone to hotspots, gas leakages, dust, noise and other hazards, this could require shutting down the facility, disrupting productivity. On top of that, it makes little sense to send skilled maintenance engineers on mundane walkabouts when they could be focusing on analysing survey data and remedying any problems they identify. Some UAVs can now safely navigate indoor spaces, but their payload capacities and battery life remain limited compared October/November 2021 | Unmanned Systems Technology Development of this industrial inspection UGV has been inspired by the mechanics of how animals walk, as Rory Jackson explains The ANYmal D is a 50 kg quadrupedal UGV designed for inspecting industrial facilities such as oil & gas rigs, construction sites and factories (Images courtesy of ANYbotics)